Does anybody remember that children’s nursery rhyme? There are a number of variations on it, but the one I remember goes like this:
rich man, poor man,
beggar man, thief.
I think I’m probably dating myself by saying that I really didn’t see anything wrong with seeing it as possibly including my future…I don’t remember one that was focused on girls’ choices.
What made me think of it today was some time I spent with my spiritual advisor/friend and some of the issues we discussed. I’m feeling led (pushed?) in several possible directions, and I keep trying to decide which one is “right”…and trying to make my path of life conform to the way I think it ought to go. But a thought that kept coming up during our time was “Quit trying so hard!” It wasn’t just “Quit trying so hard…”–it definitely had an exclamation point at the end.
And so perhaps I need to just relax and let the path lead where it goes–accepting the people that I come into contact with and giving (and receiving) the ministry that comes through those contacts rather than trying to force life into some predetermined mode.
There were several career choices I thought about as a child–nurse and teacher were the primary ones. (Does that date me again??) There were a couple others that hung around in the back of my mind–musician and writer and/or editor. But those weren’t “practical.” And I certainly had no thoughts at all about being a minister!
But life happens…and I think that God has a sense of humor.
- Nurse as a career went out the window pretty quickly, because I don’t like needles and I don’t do well with the sight of blood. But…I’ve been a hospital chaplain, and I’ve dealt with a chronic illness that has required a number of IV sticks through the years.
- Teaching definitely happened, but again not as I expected. While I began teaching English in public school, I wasn’t mature enough or sure of myself enough to do that very long. But I’ve done a lot of teaching in later years–both at a community college, teaching music, and as a teacher of adult education courses in my church.
- Musician happened in kind of a circuitious route. I’d played for church since I was 8–but somehow that didn’t feel like being a “musician.” But I’ve now been on the organ staff at Community of Christ International Headquarters for 42 years–playing recitals, giving demonstrations, and doing service playing for major activities there through the years. So yes….I’d have to say that I’m a musician.
- Writing was definitely not something that I could make a living at (according to practical logic). But it wouldn’t go away. So I’ve continued to write poetry, monologues, stories, educational courses… And I’ve served as an editor for my church as well.
- Minister has been a fulfilling part of my more recent years. When my denomination opened up ordination to women in 1984, all of a sudden I had to come to terms with the possibility that that might be an option. Up to that point, it had been easy to fob God off, because it just wasn’t going to happen in my denomination–and I definitely wasn’t feeling called anywhere else. But when I was called and ordained as an elder, a lot of new opportunities opened up–new avenues of ministry that I’d never dreamed about.
So now, I think I may be on the cusp of something else new…although I’m not sure what. But I’m sure that whatever it is, as long as I “quite trying so hard” and let God lead the way, life will continue to be an adventure!